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Ruben1
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Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Can anyone here provide any information on the Phase Linear 400 amp and the 4000 pre amp. I am looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly if any and all apply. I love the look and found a set being sold locally by the original owner but don't know anything about the quality of these vintage pieces. Thank you all.

Buddha
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Hi! They are, indeed, beautiful units.

I'm going with the originals here, not the series II.

I have had extensive exposure to them and recall my main complaint was that they were "hissy."

The preamp, especially, had rather high levels of background noise, even with the volume all they way down.

This was true of three of the units that I have spent time with (I had a great affinity to the look, like you!)

On the preamp, the peak unlimiter added alot of "pumping" artifact...like turbo lag on a car.

On the plus side, it had flexible output options and the auto-correlator was occasionally fun, but spent more time off than on.

The amp was a little noisy, as well, but I could beat the Hell out of it and it would keep on ticking!

I never ran particularly hot, but didn't sound all that sweet, either.

The caps on that amp are prone to capacitor demise more quickly than other amps I've been around, but with a new set every decade or so, they rocked my garage system for 30 years before there was just no substrate left to keep repairing.

If you buy those, give the contacts a thorough cleaning, update the caps (cheap at a good hi fi shop), and get new power cords - I'm not a cord nut, but those were actually quite cruddy and changing them lowered the noise considearably.

Anyway, lovely to behold. Think of them as more toy than hi fi, though.

Cheers!

Ruben1
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Thanks for the reply Buddha.
I got 2 of the 400 series I amps. One is very, very quiet but the other one has a hum which is very distracting. I don't recall hearing this when I heard them at the seller's home so any advise, by anyone, on what to look for to get rid of the noise is greatly appreciated. I confirmed that the noise is not from the pre amp but from the amp itself. The outlet plug is the old style 2 prong not 3.
Any advise anyone?

Buddha
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

This will sound nuts, but...

For dealing with hum, sometimes I'll get a ground wire and ground it some place and then sit around touching it to various spots on various gear and see what the sound does.

I've been shocked (figuratively... ...) when I may touch one screw on a piece of equipment and it changes the hum, but touching another screw won't.

So, number one, trial and error.

Also, if one unit does it and an identical one doesn't, it makes me worry about something being wrong inside. With the unit unplugged, take off the cover and look for any dusruptions in the circuit. You're lucky, you can compare it to the good unit!

I'm not skilled at knowing what means what, but I've found broken solder spots, or more precisely, my buddy Big Mike finds them for me, and then I look in and nod as he fixes it.

I'm not even sure how to change a two prong to a three prong cord.

Hopefully, someone in the know will pass through here.

Start with the grounding hunt, though, and keep us posted!

jackfish
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

I've got a reconditioned Phase Linear 400 Series I driving stacked double Large Advents. Yes, the speakers are connected in parallel for a 4 Ohm load. However, I do have a cooling fan attached to the heat sink and at the relatively modest volume I play it at things haven't gotten too hot yet. I am planning on purchasing another of these amplifiers to ultimately have 200W RMS @ 8 Ohms into each speaker. In a relatively small room (11'x15') and configured with Cardas' "Golden Ratio" the sound is quite good. The Phase Linear preamps are not as good as the power amplifiers. I would look for another vintage preamp like a reconditioned Harman Kardon Citation 11 or properly reconditioned Dynaco PAT-5 BiFET. I intentionally went for an all vintage equipment sound, except my phono cartridge.

If your nostalgia gets the better of you you could have both your Phase Linears reconditioned, or maybe just the one with the hum. I think they are great amps.

http://hometown.aol.com/phasetek/

Editor
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps


Quote:
I hate to be negative but the PL units didn't gain the nickname "Flame Linear" for no good reason.

The band I was touring with in the spring of 1973 had 3 Phase Linear amplifiers: one for the left-side PA speakers, one for the right-side PA speakers, and one being repaired. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Buddha
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

This should come as no suprise.

Your comments at the end of that recent Levinson pre-amp review about review equipment frequently breaking down on you tells us that your luck has held steady all these years.

You seem to have the same effect on gear that the Cartwright boys had on women!

JoeE SP9
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

I would stay away from stock Dyna PAT-5's. The one I had sounded so bad I bought my PAS-3 back from the purchaser within a week. Of course that was a long time ago.

Monty
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Frank, you and Dup are going to get along real well.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

He was respectful. He said so.

stereophillips
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps


Quote:
The outlet plug is the old style 2 prong not 3.
Any advise anyone?

This is so basic, I almost hesitate to mention it, but it's a quick'n'dirty fix you young'uns might not intuit. Try flipping the plug -- before the widespread use of polarized plugs, this was our first step in eliminating hums. It might not work, but you can't beat the cost.

gkc
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Hi, Frank -- DUP is one of our... er, more opinionated forum denizens. He's comin' in any minute now with a Van Alstine mod recommendation for your Phase Linears. And several other recommendations. And possibly an irresistable offer to sell you a used pair of Legacy Focus speakers. He writes in his own special code. If you need consecutive translation, we're here to help! Cheers, Clifton

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Clifton,

You are the Man!!!! The human "dup-alator". Whood-a-thunk-it could be possible?!

Jack Nicholson set Tom Cruise straight: "You can't handle the truth!!!".

gkc
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Hey, Jim, we be edyoocated, right?? We can decode all these different lanuages, right?? Besides, I do teh acrostics in the Times sunday puzzle section. 3 more weeks 'til the show. Oh, joy. Cheers, Clifton

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Have a great time and I am sure you will.

What is Bob Carver doing these days? It seemed to me that ouside of the Crown DC300A, he really put cheap "watts" on the map. I think his pricing was at about 50 cents a watt?

You and I know there is Ben and Jerry's, Dairy Queen, and then there is SuperBrand (Winn Dixie), Sealtest and Gold Medal where I grew up near Chicago, and a whole lot in between. We each pick our poison!

I once had an acquaintance who would buy the really cheap stuff and pour it into a "reuseable" Chivas Regal decanter. I forgot who he was trying to impress. Ah, truth in labeling! I know there will be some that will say that Chivas Regal IS the cheap stuff!

Regards,

Ruben1
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

I finaly got my buzzing/humming Phase Linerar 400 amp repaired. it turned out to be a failing capacitor. One of the big "beer can" capacitors. I just got the unit back and the sound is amazing!!. I know not everyone thinks highly of these older amps and this is OK. To me they simply sound great. Thanks you everyone for all the feedback and comments.

Ruben

CECE
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

While looking inside the Phase Linear, did you see any BOB in there. since the current ads want to convince me his stuff comes from the "heart and soul" of bob Carver. Find any thing like that in there? I personaly, IMHO, blah blah blah, prefer electrical components from an design guy's brain, that knows how to make sonic perfection through great design. Leave the heart and soul out of the product, it just doesn't have any electrical propertys

eagle
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

I was checking to see if anyone else mentioned "Flame Linear" before I did. My PL 400 blew both woofers in my JansZen Z600's so I had to get new woofers. They were blown again and I had to get new woofers. Unfortunately, this second time the supplied woofers that were no where near as good, which mostly made the speakers worthless.

Be very careful about how loud you run the amp. Also, I'd suggest that you fuse your speakers.

I'm embarrased to say that I sold a Mac MC275 for $350 to pay for the PL. If I could only turn back time... sigh. The Mac was soooo much better than the PL.

frankmarsi
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Hello Dup, any mods for the Phase Linear 400's as was rumored some time ago?
Soon to be back as a site new comer, frankmarsi@verizon.net

CECE
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps

Nain't SunFire now owned by someone else, nothing keeps going and going like a no interest in and Bob Carter nonsense..he has changed brand names over the years with so many nonsense "breakthroughs" that don't hold the test of time, like true inovations do. Phase Linear,Carver,sunfire, it just keeps changing and all them companies fade off..get a....

eagle
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Re: Phase Linear Amps and pre Amps


Quote:
Hello Dup, any mods for the Phase Linear 400's as was rumored some time ago?
Soon to be back as a site new comer, frankmarsi@verizon.net

The Phase Linear 400 was also known as the Flame Linear 400. I had one. I didn't like it at all. And it blew the woofers on both of my JansZen Z600's twice. I say you should get rid of it.

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